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Why Should You Care About Your Vendors’ Business Risk?

CISOs and Third-Party Risk teams often overlook important changes in their vendors’ business risk landscapes. By monitoring these risks as they occur, you can anticipate and better mitigate potential data risk threats before they impact business operations. Find out more.

by Tiffany Newsome, Threat Analyst

May 21st, 2019

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Vendors who have access to your networks offer potential weaknesses to your firm’s information security. Although there are ever-increasing opportunities for employees to make costly information security mistakes, companies’ have limited resources to deal with these external risks, thereby increasing their attack surface. And while it might seem more obvious to monitor the cyber risks your partners expose you to, it is easy for CISOs and Third-Party Risk teams to overlook important changes in their vendors’ business risk landscapes. 

Why business risks are worth monitoring 

Seemingly innocuous business changes such as acquisitions, layoffs, scandals and significant financial shortfalls can lead to major data losses for your firm. Mergers and acquisitions can be distracting and lead to a temporary loss of governance or oversight during the business combination process. Mass layoffs can lead to data security risks from insider threats or mistakes made during personnel turnover. Scandals can make firms a target for phishing attempts and hacktivism. A vendor’s ongoing financial difficulties can indicate a decrease in information security investment. By monitoring these business risks as they occur, CISOs and IT teams can anticipate and better mitigate potential data risk threats before they impact your firm’s operations.

The Orbitz use case 

These concerns are not academic; the Orbitz breach reported in March 2018 is a real example of how a vendor’s acquisition had disastrous effects for American Express. Expedia, an American Express vendor, acquired Orbitz in 2015. During the acquisition, a legacy Orbitz platform was left active without being integrated into Expedia’s more up to date and better-secured platforms. Hackers used this legacy platform to access 880,000 American Express credit card numbers. With proper business risk monitoring, American Express would have been notified of the merger and could have taken steps to mitigate this risk, such as requesting an updated assessment from Expedia. 

Business risk monitoring is only one tool at the disposal of Third-Party Risk teams. Using business risk monitoring, vendor assessments and continuous data risk monitoring together is a powerful combination that gives firms customized and actionable intelligence on potential threats and weaknesses from all angles. For a consolidated view of what this looks like, see the screenshot below.

Business Risk

In fact, Prevalent is the only solution that offers both continuous data and business risk monitoring. By coupling monitoring of data risks with forward-looking monitoring of operational, legal, financial, and brand-related threats, Prevalent provides our clients with the most proactive set of solutions needed to navigate their third-party risk. Then, you can layer this information on to the results of your deep internal controls-based assessments for what amounts to a 360-degree view of your vendor risks. 

Want to see this in action? For more on our vendor threat monitoring solution, contact us today, or download the Forrester New Wave for Cybersecurity Risk Rating solutions and learn why Prevalent is considered a Leader.